Constant, pouring rain did not deter the Catholic bishops of Scotland from consecrating Scotland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Sunday.
Decked in rain jackets and carrying colorful umbrellas, an estimated five thousand faithful joined the bishops for the historic Mass and consecration, which took place at the national Marian shrine at Carfin, some 35 miles to the west of the capital city of Edinburgh.
“Today, we consecrate Scotland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We express together sorrow for our personal and communal sinfulness, and we implore Mary’s guidance and strength that we live as a Christian nation should,” Bishop Brian McGee of the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles in Scotland said during his homily.
The consecration took place during the centennial anniversary year of the appearance of Our Lady of Fatima. One hundred years ago, from May through October 1917, the Virgin Mary appeared monthly to three shepherd children in Portugal, delivering messages about conversion, the recitation of the rosary and the fate of the world.
“I’m very sorry that it’s started to rain,” joked Bishop McGee at the beginning of his homily.
“Perhaps it reminds us of the great miracle of the sun, that it was very wet that day too,” he said, referring to the last apparition of Mary in Portugal. On that day, a steady rain also fell, transforming the field where Mary appeared into a muddy wet mess before the renowned Miracle of the Sun occurred.
The Bishop noted that everyone present for the consecration was consecrating not only the country, but their entire selves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
“Every one of us says I am determined to be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart as well. With God’s grace, I want to every day, in every situation, to say yes to God. Imagine that,” he said.
“…imagine everywhere thousands of people, every day, every circumstance, striving to say yes to God,” he noted. “What a force for good that would be in Scotland.”
Bishop McGee added that just as our earthly mothers want the best for us, so too does our Heavenly Mother Mary.
“Our Mothers are precious to us. Even if they are long dead, we know that they loved us and only want what is best for us. Our Heavenly Mother loves us and only wants what is best for us,” he said.
“One hundred years ago in Fatima, Our Lady insisted to us her children that her Immaculate Heart will triumph. Our Lady reminded us that sin most certainly yes has a grip in the world. But a person, who relying on God’s grace, determines with his whole heart…to reject sin and embrace the ways of God, that person too will triumph. The Immaculate Heart of Mary is both a consolation and an inspiration to us,” he said.
Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow presided over the Mass and the prayer of consecration, which he asked everyone to recite together.
“We consecrate Scotland to you: all that we have, all that we love, all that we are. To you we give our minds and hearts, our bodies and souls. We willingly place at your service our homes and our families, our parishes and schools: we desire that all that is in us and around us may belong to you, O Mary, and may share in the benefits of your motherly care,” the faithful prayed together.
In a video by Sancta Familia Media, posted to the Facebook page of the parish of the Holy Family in Mossen, several attendees said that the day was meaningful and beautiful, despite the rain.
“It surpassed my expectations, I thought it was a supernatural event,” said Bishop John Keenan of Paisley.
“The people…turned out in great numbers and stayed through the pouring rain, and their faith and their prayers and their singing just got more and more triumphant. So a great day for Scotland, but the fruits of it – forever,” he said.
Participant Matthew Sheppard told Sancta Familia that is was “definitely worth it…I’m soaked through…but it was incredible.”
Father Matthew Carlin said he was also soaked but happy to have attended.
“The liturgy was beautiful…unfortunately I was sitting in the rain the whole time so I am soaking, but I didn’t mind because it was so good to be here,” he said.
There was also a motion in Scotland’s Parliament to recognize the consecration, the Catholic Herald reported.
“That the Parliament recognises that Scotland’s Catholic bishops will consecrate the nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on 3 September 2017; understands that the bishops will pray for Scotland at the Marian Shrine at the Carfin Grotto, near Motherwell, asking that Scotland be energised with a renewed desire to seek the truth, and understands that at the same time they will pray for all parliamentarians and government, so that they will play their part in building a true civilisation of love and strive to create a place where all people are valued, a place where poor, lonely and marginalised people are not forgotten, and a place where people are free to practise their faith,” read the text of the motion, which was supported by six representatives.
Several other countries have consecrated or renewed their consecrations to the Immaculate Heart of Mary during this anniversary year. At the beginning of his pontificate in 2013, Pope Francis consecrated the world and his papacy to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as well.